Designer Diary: Leave it to Cleaver
by Audrey Jaeger on Jan 26, 2024
Leave it to Cleaver
By Mack Martin
Today, I’d like to start a series of discussions on some of the various Merc models that any faction can hire. There’s no shortage of Mercs in the Edgerunners faction, and since any team can include two Mercs, the various Edgerunner starter and expansion boxes have lots of tools for tailoring your list. In this acritical, I want to highlight one of the more unique models, the Solo Noodle Chef (available in Chopped for Time).
If you’re a fan of the Cyberpunk RED roleplaying game, you might recognize Tetsuo from the Danger Gal’s Dossier. He’s a great hook for your players as both an employer (he’s got trouble with the Yakuza brewing) or as a foil (some guys just don’t wanna pay that protection money). From a story perspective, Tetsuo (now going by Ryu) fits nicely into a variety of street-level stories. It may seem odd to have a chef in the Battlespace, but given the canonical background, the owner of the traditional Japanese restaurant “Big Success” makes a lot of sense. As a model, he can fit a variety of other backgrounds as well, so don’t be afraid to get creative!
In Cyberpunk, you never know who is secretly a BAMF solo, and this cleaver wielding maniac is proof of that. Coming in at 20 EB, this soup-slinger isn’t cheap, but he’s a melee powerhouse that can stand toe-to-toe with Maelstrom heavy melee hitters. So let’s go down the card.
First, he’s an Edgerunner, Merc, and a Specialist. This means that even Edgerunner’s lists can only run one. His base version brings three yellow actions, which gives him plenty of movement for rushing enemy positions. Often, he’ll be able to spend [RE]actions to move YELLOW while saving the RED action token he just got from being wounded for attacking.
Speaking of which, he’s got a pretty solid spread of skills. 2 Melee and 1 Reflex means he’s got a bonus to defending against most attacks. Coupled with his 2 Medical, these skills provide a baseline that keeps him alive and helps him score objectives. Medical can be a difficult skill to add to a list, and this model has enough staying power to make him a good skill-gap filler.
His “Have Some Soup” ability, while only RED range, is a heal action. He can even target himself, further improving his board-sticking power, especially while holding an objective. You can even [RE]act to damage by healing the damage he just took. This makes it very hard to push off an objective once he’s staked his claim.
Last but not least, he’s armed with a Cleaver. This melee weapon has both the Deadly and Dangerous traits, which is a double-edged sword… er, knife… axe? I’ll leave that debate to the internet. Now, it’s important to remember that the Cleaver is an optional attack, and the solo can still choose a basic melee attack. This is critical when you don’t want to risk fumbling on a RED die and taking wounds. However, even if you are rolling RED, it can be worth the risk as the weapon is Deadly. With three actions, he’s got quite a few chances to deal two wounds, especially to models that don’t have strong melee defenses.
Those three actions are nice, but when the Solo Noodle Chef upgrades to a Veteran, he gets a fourth YELLOW action. Four actions on a model is pretty rare, and at 20 (or 25) points, he’s a very efficient way to add strong melee to a list that might be more gun-focused. I particularly like him in my Gen Red and Danger Gals lists. He excels at both supporting and defending a backfield ranged character (like Bengal or Tetra) and at rushing an enemy firing position.
So if you’re looking for a fun new model to paint or a merc to bolster your forces, give the Solo Noodle Chef a look. And join us on Discord to tell me what kind of weapon a Cleaver is… I’m leaning towards the axe.